Monday, September 29, 2003

Your Mileage May Vary (But I Doubt It)

If you are one of those people who have lived in Japan for a while and you're worried that, among other things, if you move back to the States (or where ever you may be from) you'll get fat, I hate to tell you this but, you're probably right. On the bright side, you probably won't care as much as you did in Japan because compared to the average person you run across in the course of a day you won't really feel so big after all.
Never one to possess a really positive self image to begin with, being in Japan completely messed with my mind. Even when I'd come back here on vacation and end up buying size 8s when I'd spent most of my life as a solid 12, I always felt enormous in Japan.
Now I've been back here in NH for about 5 months and I've put on a few pounds and I don't really care all that much. It could be that I'm getting old, fat and lazy (gasp!) or it could be that the lack of that constant personal spotlight of foreigness I wore in Japan has allowed me to stop being so paranoid about how others see me.
And hypocritically enough, I decide to go off on this tangent on the same day I logged back on to to try to drop the above mentioned few pounds before the holiday season starts to kick in. As Bugs might say, "What a hypomacrite!"

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Maybe They Really Are Just Snobs?

I received a mail today that said a 'special' member of the BlogSnob administration saw this blog and reported that I am violating some rule of theirs. I can't figure out what I am doing that could be construed of as rule breaking. I have their link displayed prominently in the right hand column and I don't really think my content is all that offensive. I have a suspicion it might be a disgruntled Ataris' fan taking offense at my position that the Ataris suck. I heard their new single on the radio the other day and I certainly do stand by my sentiment.
I wrote the BlogSnob back and asked for clarification on how I am violating their rules. If you, dear reader, have any idea of what the problem might be, please leave a comment.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The Bass Fairy Descendeth

Apparently the Bass Fairy does exist and she has heeded my plea for help.
Yesterday on the way back from UNH I decided to drop by the local music store to see what they have in the way of used bass rigs. I spent a good chunk of time there, 30 minutes? 45? Time has no meaning when you're playing around with cool equipment you know you personally cannot afford.
I can't afford the really powerful stuff, but I do now have my eye on a particular 400w head that is out there on the floor. Even more so after the bass man said he could sell it to me for $100 less than what's on the price tag. Also learned that a good, used 115 cab will be traded in soon. Sounds like I could put together a nice rig for around $600 total. But I still need to wait until the other cab comes in and go back there with my bass and see if it's really what I want.
No sooner did I go home and call Stef to tell her about my findings, than she tells me that at the same time I was at the music store, she and another guitarist friend had been talking about my quest for new equipment and that I should go talk to the guy at the music store who I actually was talking to.
And then later on another friend came around and said he has two cabs he wants to sell and maybe other gear too. He said he'd bring it buy so I can try it out and see what I think.
Thank you, Bass Fairy.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Finally, Some Action.

Look out Portsmouth. Here comes Bolt.
We are semi-confirmed to play a slot in the Muddy River Smokehouse Stepping Stone Series in October. I say semi-confirmed because our sort of official sounding Performance Contract says we'll be playing on the 15th, but the website has us listed for the 29th. (Click on the picture of fat Axl to see.)
I wonder if playing a cover of The Monkees "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" would get us immediately disqualified. But we don't have any keyboards and that song loses a lot without them.
Great. Now I can start kvetching. First of all, my amp is too small for that room and I'm not really able to just cruise on out and buy myself a new, bigger rig within the next three weeks. I guess I'll just have to live with it and have them mike the amp through the PA. Damn, where's the bass fairy when you need her?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Where's a Good Heavy Bag When You Need One?

Because if I had a good heavy bag down in the basement I'd be down there beating the shit out of it right now over the dumbass shit I am suffering through with UNH.
After not receiving a pay check last Friday, I inquired about exactly when I would be getting paid when I went in to school on Monday. I called the Payroll department and found out I hadn't gotten paid because I'm not on the payroll yet. So I brought in the necessary documents on Tuesday to get all the necessary documents on file.
Went in to school this morning and was told I could pick up my money at Human Resources, which is like 3 miles away from the rest of the campus out by the cow barns. (Ayup. We're talking New Hampshire here, after all.) Went to Human Resources and was told I needed to go to Payroll, which was thankfully just across the parking lot. They checked for me at Payroll and told me they still don't have any records for me. Contacted my department office and was told, "Oh. They told me it would take another day or two to get you on the payroll. Didn't have time to let you know."
How about I just don't show up for class until they start paying me.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Good Times

I am proud to say I have now been a participant in the famed "Fried Clam Jam" of York, Maine. What's in the world is a Fried Clam Jam, you ask? It's a kick ass good time in a barn in York Maine that happens to be right behind the original El's Fried Clams, which anyone from around here will tell you serves the tastiest fried clams around.
I guess yesterday was a Fried Clam Jam Deluxe because it wasn't just a jam but a big old barbecue with some of the nicest, most hospitable folks it has even been my pleasure to meet. Burgers, dogs, and food, food, food, two kegs, a great yard, lots of kids running around, lots of former kids enjoying themselves, one cool dog named Tobey, a bunch of musicians and a beautiful day. Stef, Chip and I played pretty much everything we know, including a few old half finished songs we haven't played in a long time. I even actually sang. The sound in the barn is incredible. Adam let me use his bass rig and later on I even got several opportunities to play his awesome Music Man StingRay. I love those and must get one someday, but only after I buy myself a decent bass head and cab first. My bass sounded so good through Adam's rig and I could get the sound I wanted with so much more ease than playing through my little Bassman amp.
Anyway, it was a very good time had by all. Hope we can do it again some day.

Saturday, September 13, 2003


Couldn't sleep well last night. Don't think it was nerves about the "it's not really a gig, just think of it as a practice" gig we're playing at a barbecue in York this afteroon even though we haven't practiced in a couple of weeks due to everyone's busy schedules and/or exhaustion resulting from said schedules. Don't think it has any connections to 9-11, the full moon on Wednesday (though it was a beauty) or my constant obsessing about my new teaching gig. It probably wasn't even completely due to my chest cold and that crazy generic Robutussin-ish cough medicine I took last night or the mysterious "mimizu no kusuri" (made from dried powdered worms) that my mother in law swears by.
I think over the past several years my being has become trained to equate mid-September with waking up at 3am to get ready for the airport shuttle van to come get us at 3:45 so we can check in on time to catch our 6am flight to Detroit or Chicago or someplace Mid-Western that will connect to a flight back to Osaka. This was always accompanied by a deep, resounding dread in the pit of my stomach that would begin at least a week before our departure and always result in tears sometime before, and usually while, I hugged and kissed my Mom good bye as she stood in her white bathrobe, haloed in her front doorway in the darkest, deepest part of night, sending the three of us off on our journey to the other side of the world.
Well, this time it's different. I'm not going anywhere.

Monday, September 08, 2003

What the hell?

I've been meaning to mention this since last spring, but somehow I never got around to it. Why the hell doesn't anyone walk to pick up their kids at our neighborhood elementary school?
The pick up and drop off points at school were changed this year so that buses and walkers leave through the front of the building and parents picking up their kids in cars go around to the back. So far this school year I've seen a couple of people waiting for their kids over at the 1st and 2nd grade doors and I am always the only one waiting outside the 3rd and 4th grade doors. We live in a totally residential neighborhood and I see no one else walking home with their kids.
I realize people need to work. I drop Rachel off at school on my way to work now too, but I know stay at home moms do also indeed exist.The funny thing is I bet at least some of the women I see taking mid-morning walks past my house are doing it while their kids are in school. Why not just walk to school and pick them up instead? That way your kids walk home and get some exercise too.

Right Here Right Now

It's really fun to have the sense of being in the right place at the right time.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Where's the Pause Button?

Guess Blogger is through with its little hissy fit and is letting me get back into my blog guts. It feels like someone hit the fast forward button on my life on Tuesday and hasn't let up since.
The photo above is a little press kit thingy I put together for Mat and Toby.(Sorry, you can't click it for a bigger picture or anything.) I think it came out pretty good and will suit their purposes. It was fun shooting the pictures. I used to shoot a lot of band photos and Super 8 film (!) back when I lived in Colorado. I like putting that kind of thing together but unfortunately none of the bands I know actually has any money to spend on creating press kits. It's no big deal though. I don't do it for money, I do it because I can. I'm probably going to do a little website for them too. Also need to make one for my Dad's farm. Yet another item for the To Do list in my head.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

First Day

Today was the first day of school. One thing I love about being a teacher is that I get to have the thrill and excitement of the first day of school every year. By the end at Ritsumeikan a new semester didn't even make me flinch, which is one way I knew it was time to leave. If the start of a new school year can't give me goose bumps then I'm in the wrong place.
They were giving out free coffee in the parking lot at UNH to welcome back the commuters. It was good coffee too. And I auspiciously managed to walk all the way to my office with the open coffee cup in the rain alongside the construction work with neither spilling the coffee all over myself nor getting splashed by a passing car. I took it all as a good omen, even though it was rainy and probably in the mid-60s this morning. Definitely one of those days you'd love to burrow back under the covers. Definitely the gloomiest looking first day back to school that I can recall.
I think I was too hyper in class. I'm going to need to calm down a bit and not rush the students. I'm using a textbook that I never would have chosen myself, but it's what they used last year and I don't think it's fair to jump ship mid course. It's forcing me to be creative in my approach, which is good. It's so liberating to not have to worry about marching in step with the rest of a department. I was teaching with minimal academic freedom the past seven years and, while it's definitely important to know how to follow a curriculum, I'm at the point where I'd rather make my own. The pay sucks, but I'm very psyched to have the job.